Here, in the middle of July, the fourth day of an on-again off-again thunderstorm, I found a wonderful old world St. Nicholas doll wearing clothing more like that of an Old World Greek Bishop than the jolly rolly-polly pink cheeked man in a red velvet suit with a thick black belt. Often people say that one evolved from the other. I finally decided to track it down and see where it happened. Not too complicated, but surprising to me. Here's a brief note of what I found out.
Saint Nicholas was an historic 4th-century Saint and Greek Bishop of Myra, part of modern-day Turkey. He had a reputation for secret gift-giving, such as putting coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him, and thus became the model for today's Santa Claus. His feast day is the 6th of December.
The dramatic clothing change came in 1892 as a result of magazine illustrations created by the great artist, Thomas Nast as illustrations for Harper's Weekly Magazine. Nast's original drawings were of a small Santa who could slide down chimneys, but his later works made him full size. He was also the first to draw Santa wearing a red suit with fur lining, a stocking cap, and a black belt with a large buckle. This has become the image of the American Santa, while in some European countries where Saint Nicholas remains popular, the outfit worn is closer to religious clothing, including a Bishop's mitre.
This brings us back my vintage St. Nicolas doll in religious clothing. If you'd like to see more about it, visit my store on eBay, PhoenixRising2000.